WTO obligations and their implementation
The rules and commitments binding the WTO members in the field of agriculture cover market access, domestic support and export competition.
Legal basis of WTO rights and obligations in agriculture
The WTO agreements are the founding charter of the organisation and the basis for everything the WTO does.
Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture
Agriculture rules and commitments
The agricultural package consists of commitments undertaken by WTO members in the three pillars of the negotiations:
- market access,
- domestic support,
- export competition.
Countries' schedules of commitments
The results of the WTO negotiations consist of general rules that apply to all Members as well as specific commitments made by individual Members. These specific commitments are listed under so-called "schedules of concessions".
For agricultural products, these concessions and commitments include tariff and tariff rate quotas bindings, limits on export subsidies and domestic support.
Each WTO member has a schedule of concessions. The schedule may require amendments over time in order to reflect various events which have taken place such as negotiations under GATT Article XXVIII (when a WTO member wishes to modify its schedule).
Implementation of commitments
The implementation of the Agreement on Agriculture is overseen by the Committee on Agriculture (CoA). Within this committee, WTO members have the opportunity to consult each other on issues related to the implementation of their commitments.
The questions members ask each other under the review of notifications are part of the committee’s key responsibility of overseeing how countries are complying with their commitments. Notifications obligations cover the three agriculture pillars i.e. market access, domestic support and export competition.